Yukon small businesses mark second anniversary of COVID: Sales remain low, debt remains high, and many are considering permanent closure

Whitehorse, March 9, 2022 – Two years into the pandemic, small businesses are a long way from recovery, according to the latest Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) monthly survey data. Only 35 per cent of businesses have returned to normal sales, while debt levels and the share of businesses considering bankruptcy remain high.

“While it is good news that COVID restrictions are beginning to lift in Yukon, the economic damage to small business has been massive and has left many in a very precarious position,” said Kathleen Cook, CFIB’s director for Yukon. “While last week’s budget contained no new taxes, it’s critical that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, the Yukon government refrain from imposing any new costs on small businesses and take further steps to support economic recovery.”

On a national level, two thirds of businesses (67 per cent) report taking on pandemic-related debt, at an average of $158,000 per business. In addition, one in seven (14 per cent) of small firms are actively considering bankruptcy or winding down their operations.

Since the start of 2022, the share of businesses reporting normal sales has risen very slowly, from 31 per cent to 35 per cent. Until more businesses can get back to normal sales, their capacity to face new costs or repay debt remains significantly reduced.

To give small businesses time to recover, CFIB is urging the Yukon government to:

  • Refrain from introducing any new costs for small businesses in 2022
  • Halt any plans to mandate permanent employer-paid sick leave, which would impose significant new costs on small firms at a time when they can least afford it
  • Extend existing territorial supports to the hard-hit tourism, hospitality, and recreation sectors beyond March 31, giving these businesses much-needed additional time to recover.

“Small businesses have borne the brunt of two years of COVID restrictions and will be dealing with the fallout of the pandemic for months, if not years,” added Cook. “Imposing new costs on them right now could be the final nail in the coffin for some.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Kathleen Cook, CFIB

This press release presents findings from the following recent CFIB surveys:
•    Your Voice – February 2022: An online survey completed by 4,001 CFIB members between February 9-25, 2022. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. 
•    Your Voice – January 2022: An online survey completed by 5,630 CFIB members between January 18-27, 2022. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20. 

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.